Our 60s and beyond offer rich perspective calling us into a deeper and more complex, textured and tempered life with age and experience. Experiences with death come with the territory. Grappling with our health and wellbeing is perhaps ever more essential. Taking on the challenge of owning our joyfulness is key. All of these are aspects of the wisdom trail of the crone.
Living an inspired life is tested and trued by what are inevitable losses through death at this stage of life. If we in fact believe that life is eternal, as do I, then another’s passing, however close they are to us, is something to celebrate. We can lose sight of this with all of the chatter about “grief” and its stages by over focusing on the various challenges forged of our own well-worn dependencies on the person for carrying some of our load, for company and/or advice. When we are in the present loss is another opportunity to know life in new and different ways and with and through different people. Reacting to the loss is like driving forward while looking in the rearview mirror, a good way to hurt one’s self. If we believe that life is eternal than we know our loved one is with us. We must again take the wheel and take up the tasks of living our lives and directing the path forward. Inspiration is internal guidance that is obscured by reacting. Guidance can come in as soon as we deeply relax and become present and open.
We have the opportunity and I would even say the need to consolidate what was learned in earlier phases of our lives and to develop a loving, respectful, relationship to our physical selves and the world. Our health is and always has been our responsibility. Our bodies give us immediate and continual feedback with regard to what is working and what is not. Our interpersonal relationships and feelings generated through interactions are another form of feedback. There is enormous propaganda swirling around on these channels. However, as we seat in our crone knowing, we can let go of what doesn’t feel healthy or good. These days lots of folks are taking up the “whole 30” (30 days of eating only high quality whole foods like vegetables and fruits and protein with no refined sugar, processed food, indigestible foods like grains, preservatives or dairy) challenge. This is an excellent way to clear the gut programing in anticipation of being able to determine what feels good and healthy idiosyncratically as we reintroduce items and watch our reactions. For myself, I am letting inflammation go and stepping back from inflammatory foods, interactions and thoughts.
Essentially, we are responsible for our joyfulness. We always have the option of moving toward joy. Why don’t we? Lest we think these choices are politically or outer driven I point to messages from two wise old religious leaders, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. They convey in their work The Book of Joy (2016, Avery Press of Penguin Random House, NY) pathways from very different religious traditions and parts of the world. Each of these men has had to grapple with considerable hardships and both remain joyful. For me, a particularly inspired path of joy has always been cooking for myself, for family and for community. I love being at the point as a crone where I relate so well to it that I can create from my heart and mind with freshly available food knowing what it will “taste like” at the vision before taking action.
Lest we think that we are doomed as we move through the tumult in this age of accelerations and instant communication from around the globe I point to the insights of Thomas L. Friedman, a journalist who has traveled the world and learned a few things shared in Thank You for Being Late (2016, Picador, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, NY). We always have the opportunity to take a breath, be quiet and center ourselves back into who we are and what we love. While there may be steps backward so too are there exciting innovations and progress.
As crones we have the opportunity to live our self-mastery. We have the choice to appreciate and love the lives we have built rather than blaming and responding to what we witness with righteous indignation. Our joyfulness indicates what direction we are facing. For me full joyfulness entails communing with source, wise mind, what some call God, and engaging the world from this communion. This requires a balance of solitude with engagement. The seat of being is in “I am” rather than “ you are/should/shouldn’t” be.